Before the start of last season, Adidas did a very silly thing for very good reasons. As part of its ever-expanding Primeblue range of garments made from recycled ocean plastic, the company decided that all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams would have away shirts that drew from the same ocean-based theme. A lovely idea in theory that made the jerseys feel coherent and part of a wider message about the importance of recycling, but one that in practice was a bit of a disaster.
That’s because with the exception of the Blues white jersey and the Chiefs turquoise design, all the shirts were very similar shades of grey-blue… which was a problem given that multiple teams in the now-defunct Super Rugby tournament had blue home shirts, including two of the New Zealand teams. It didn’t take long for this problem to become evident when the Highlanders played the Bulls in South Africa and only brought their away shirts, and it was a constant problem for viewers all the way up to the final, ridiculous final game of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
For the forthcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 then, Adidas has kept the message while hopefully removing the silly. This time around, four of the five teams will have white away shirts with coloured accents, while the other, the Chiefs, will have a a light grey strip.
Now, this instantly means that we’ll be spared the awkward clashes of 2020, as no team plays in white at home, and the accent colours are all distinct as well – yellow and grey for the Canes, dark green for the highlanders, black and red for the Crusaders and blue for the Blues – they’re also very cool it must be said.
Our only concern is the Chiefs all-grey away shirt – with the Highlanders rocking the same dark blue shirt they’ve worn for the last three seasons, we wonder if it might still be a little close for viewers on TV, but on the whole we think it’s a massive improvement.
We’ll see how well these shirts can stand out from each other when Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off on 26 Frebruary 2021.